Michigan proved its football team looks good under the lights, beating Notre Dame Saturday night in front of a record crowd of 115,109.
The night also proved perfect for hosting some of the nation's top high school football players.
Among the many top prospects in Ann Arbor over the weekend, the Wolverines entertained the fourth-overall 2014 prospect, defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, and the top overall prospect from the 2015 class, defensive end Jashon Cornell.
In this week's episode of Fourth and One: Michigan Recruiting, ESPN's Tom VanHaaren and WXYZ Sports' Brad Galli discuss the impact the weekend had on all the visits, where Michigan stands in the race to get Hand, and how Cornell's enticement may lay in those who aren't at Michigan yet.
First down: Michigan's rocking party
Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon said he was trying to create a Super Bowl environment on Saturday night. The result was a raucous event that won't soon be forgotten. Its impact on the recruiting front has been obvious, with high school visitors tweeting about the night. From Beyonce on the big screen, to the record maize and blue capacity crowd, VanHaaren says players have never seen anything like it. Linebacker Justin Hilliard, of the 2015 class, told VanHaaren he's not sure anything else will ever compare to that. Just two weeks into the football season, Michigan has gotten an upper hand in a lot of the races for top high school players.
Second down: Michigan in the lead to land Da'Shawn Hand
The nation's top 2014 defensive end prospect was in Ann Arbor, and is making his decision November 14. Hand told reporters he got too many calls, and didn't want to talk about the visit right away. That's not a bad thing. VanHaaren says the fourth-ranked 2014 player has been keeping his recruitment stories close to the chest, but said Michigan did a 'great job' with the official visit. Fans were screaming, "We want Da'Shawn!" He liked that, and VanHaaren believes it will be tough for anyone to jump ahead of the Wolverines as front-runners for the Woodbridge, Virgina senior.
Third down: Michigan gets a jump on 2015's No. 1 prospect
ESPN has Jashon Cornell ranked No. 1 in the junior class. The Cretin-Derham Hall (Min.) High School defensive end has visited Michigan before, but VanHaaren says the visit in the atmosphere in Ann Arbor Saturday has set the tone for his recruitment. Cornell tweeted he was "Really enjoying my time in Michigan right now," on Sunday. He visited Cass Tech's practice later that afternoon to visit potential teammates at Michigan. It's early, but the Wolverines made a big impression on Hand.
Fourth down: No commitments...yet
Despite all the hoopla that surrounded the game Saturday, none of the recruits committed to Michigan. That's par for the course, and the biggest takeaway was the camaraderie between 2014 and 2015 recruits. What's next is likely very positive for an already impressive incoming class in Ann Arbor.
Extra point: Butt turns from spectator to player
Tight end Jake Butt watched the Notre Dame game two years ago from the sideline as a high school junior. Last year, he watched from afar as a senior commit to Michigan. Saturday, he was a face for recruits to watch and relate to. Although he missed potential scoring plays in the end zone, Butt became a secondary target for Devin Gardner. The freshman was a perfect exhibit of Brady Hoke's staff playing first-year players, which of course is a major plus to any high schooler looking on.
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